Frequently asked questions
What is PTECH?
The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or PTECH, is a new model for high school education that includes college-level, credit-bearing coursework in the curriculum and allows students to choose their own “pathways” to high-skill jobs.
A consortium of HFM BOCES, its component school districts, Fulton-Montgomery Community College and regional business partners was one of 16 winners in a statewide competition in 2013 for funding a PTECH program that targets students who might not otherwise consider a college pathway, using a variety of demographic, academic and social indicators. The school launched in the 2014-15 school year with 50 ninth-grade students from the component school districts.
PTECH seeks to redefine secondary education with a curriculum that centers on project-based learning that will focus on skills in four career clusters — business management and administration, advanced manufacturing and clean technology, information technology and health sciences. Through the program, selected students can earn one of 10 different associate degrees at no cost to their families and will be considered for jobs with participating companies when they graduate.
How is PTECH paid for?
A consortium of HFM BOCES, its component school districts, Fulton-Montgomery Community College and 16 regional businesses applied for and received a statewide grant for $2.4 million in August of 2013 to launch HFM PTECH. Gloversville Enlarged School District is handling the financial administration duties. School districts pay a tuition fee for students they send to PTECH, for which they can be reimbursed through BOCES aid. The grant covers the rest of the costs associated with the school.
What college costs are covered for students enrolled in PTECH?
Tuition and the cost of class materials for Fulton Montgomery Community College courses are covered for students enrolled in the HFM PTECH program. However, PTECH students are considered scholarship students, and as such, certain academic standards are expected in order for college costs to be paid by the program.
While enrolled in PTECH, students will be allowed to retake one college course (due to failure, withdrawal, drop, or a grade not acceptable for the degree program) for which PTECH will pay. However, students will be responsible for the costs associated with any further courses beyond the one that they retake as part of their FMCC graduation requirements. This includes textbooks, lab fees, and any additional costs associated with the course.
This applies to all FMCC courses PTECH students take, as well as college courses taught at the Jansen Avenue campus.
What kind of students are good candidates for PTECH?
A student who will succeed in PTECH is motivated to learn in new and exciting ways and thrives in a non-traditional classroom setting. Other important qualities include being creative, being a hands-on learner and having a positive attitude. Potential PTECH students should be interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and have the desire to build strong skills in communications, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and time management. They also should have a vision of using their individual talents and skills to impact their local and global communities.
Where is the PTECH school?
A portion of the Jansen Avenue School in Johnstown houses the PTECH school. Students will spend their ninth- and 10th-grade years at Jansen Avenue. Most of their 11th- and 12th-grade years will be spent on the FMCC campus. Years 13-14 (if needed) take place at FMCC.
Is transportation provided to PTECH students?
Yes, home school districts transport students from their home school to PTECH (and FMCC) in the morning, as well as from PTECH back to their home school in the afternoon. A late bus also is provided from PTECH two days a week.
Can I play sports or do other extra-curricular activities?
Yes, PTECH students are bused back to their home schools in time to participate in sports or other after-school activities. PTECH also offers after-school clubs and activities that include late-bus transportation.
Which school districts participate?
- Greater Amsterdam School District
- Canajoharie Central School District
- Edinburg Common School District
- Fonda-Fultonville Central School District
- Fort Plain Central School District
- Gloversville Enlarged School District
- Greater Johnstown School District
- Lake Pleasant Central District
- Mayfield Central School District
- Northville Central School District
- Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School
- Wells Central School District
- Wheelerville Union Free School District
Each school district has slots reserved at PTECH based on their student enrollment.
What degrees can students earn?
There are 10 associate’s degrees offered by FMCC that students can earn through PTECH. They are:
- Business Accounting
- Business Administration
- Business Technology and Applications
- Electrical Technology
- Computer Information Systems
- Computer Networking
- Computer Technology
- Medical Administrative Studies (New Visions)
- Health Studies
- Radiologic Technology
When and how do students apply?
Eighth-graders in the participating districts can apply once the current year’s online application has opened, which is usually in mid-December. Deadlines are typically in the beginning of February. The application process is done completely online and involves getting recommendations from teachers and guidance counselors, along with completing all parts of application, including a written statement. There is also a form parents fill out. Applicants will visit the school and participate in an interview session at that time.
How are students selected?
Completed applications that are received by the deadline will be evaluated by the Application and Recruitment Team.
Selected students are required to attend a “Summer Bridge” program for incoming freshmen.
What if a student who applies is not selected?
Students who meet the requirements but who are not selected will be placed on a waiting list for their school. Should a slot become available before the start of the school year, it will be offered to a student from the waiting list for that school. If all the available slots for a particular school are not filled, a lottery will be held among students on the waiting lists for all the component school districts.
Is freshman year the only time students can enter PTECH?
Yes. Because of the way the curriculum is structured to allow for acceleration into college courses, only current eighth-graders are eligible to apply to PTECH, and students must enter the program their freshman year of high school.
Do PTECH students take part in their home high school graduation?
Yes, students will be able to walk with their peers during graduation, although they won’t actually receive their diploma until they leave the PTECH program.
What if I’ve taken accelerated classes in middle school?
An education at PTECH is highly individualized to each student. Students’ curriculum will be adjusted to reflect the appropriate level of subject mastery.
Who are the business partners and mentors, and what role do they play?
The regional business partners are committed to serving as mentors for students throughout their PTECH career, meeting with them in person and by virtual communication, as well as guiding internships and putting PTECH graduates in line for jobs within their companies.